“The German energy transformation is impressive”
Ernest Moniz, the United States Secretary of Energy, has praised Germany’s development of renewables but said the US were not planning such an energy transition. In an interview with public television news programme ARD Tagesschau he said the US was going to keep using coal power but also invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in order to reduce emissions. In principle, all fossil fuels could participate in an economy with reduced CO2 emissions, given the right technologies, Moniz said.
Watch the interview in German here.
The G7 energy ministers were supposed to prepare the big meeting of heads of state and government in Elmau in June and the Paris climate summit in December, but their meeting in Hamburg was a flop, Dana Heide writes in an opinion piece for business daily Handelsblatt. Only three of seven energy ministers came to the meeting, which only confirmed what had been decided the previous year: more cooperation in securing the energy supply, more independence from Russia. The only little success for German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel was bringing energy efficiency to the attention of the G7 and speaking about cybersecurity. But these small achievements cannot hide the fact these large industrial nations are indifferent when it comes to a joint energy policy.
Read a CLEW article on the outcome of the G7 energy minister meeting in Hamburg here.
“The Oppositional Seven”
The meeting of the G7 energy ministers has revealed large differences between their approaches to energy policy and CO2 emissions reduction, Dagmar Dehmer writes in Der Tagesspiegel. While Germany is promoting renewables, the United States on Tuesday authorised Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic Sea near Alaska. The last time Shell started trial drilling in the Arctic in 2012, its platform sank. But despite the high risks posed by extreme weather and activists' warnings against huge potential damages to the natural habitat of whales and seals, Shell is sticking to its plan of exploiting petroleum in the North. In Hamburg, G7 ministers preferred to speak about Ukraine and how they can make Europe more independent from Russian gas, Dehmer says.
Read the article in German here.
Wall Street Journal/Reuters
“Cold winter boosts RWE’s Q1 profits”
Colder winter temperatures boosted gas sales at Germany’s largest power producer RWE at the start of the year, Reuters reports. RWE first quarter operating profit fell five percent to 1.63 billion euros, but the company earned more money than analysts had expected. CEO Peter Terium retained the group’s gloomy full-year forecast, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company warned against the proposed coal levy on conventional power plants which exceed new yearly limits on emissions. “A financial burden of this nature would have a substantial negative economic impact on RWE’s lignite [coal] mines and lignite-fired power stations,” the utility said.
Read the Wall Street Journal article in English here.
Find the Reuters report in English here.
“Nothing left for nuclear power?”
Utility RWE has admitted the money supposedly set aside for decommissioning nuclear plants and deal with nuclear waste is not save, public broadcaster ARD reports. The proposed levy on old coal-fired plants will hit RWE hard, said CEO Peter Terium in an interview. “We need the money we still earn with lignite so we can fulfil promises (like pensions). The money has to come from somewhere. The same is true for the demolition of nuclear plants and waste disposal. All of this requires money which needs to be earned – if we can’t earn it with lignite, it will be difficult to pay for it all," Terium said in an interview with news channel n-tv according to the ARD report.
Read the article in German here.
See the n-tv interview in German here.
Germany's EnBW named as preferred bidder for Prokon
Germany’s third-largest utility EnBW has been named preferred bidder for insolvent wind farm operator Prokon, Reuters reports. A final decision about the bid – more than 500 million euros, an insider told Reuters – will probably be taken by a Prokon creditor panel in early July, said an EnBW press statement. Prokon operates 54 wind farms in Germany and Poland with 318 wind energy power plants and a total output of around 537 MW, according to the press release. More than 170 wind farm projects with a possible total output of around 4,200 MW are planned in Germany, Poland and Finland.
The company filed for insolvency last year after consumer groups accused it of attracting investors with the prospect of high returns without giving sufficient warning of the risks. An acquisition of Prokon would help EnBW diversify its business away from loss-making coal and gas-fired plants.
Read the report in English here.
Read the CLEW article “Can Germany’s energy giants change their DNA?” here.
“A symbol for the Energiewende”
Insolvent Prokon is a rare opportunity for a large utility like EnBW to increase its foothold in renewables, writes Bernward Janzing in a commentary for taz newspaper. “On the one hand, it should be welcomed if companies from the old energy world slowly recognise the value of renewables. But on the other hand, the danger increases that the Energiewende will soon no longer be the citizens’ project it started as, but only a boring business model of large companies.”
Read the commentary in German here.
“Give up coal!”
There is growing hope that the UN negotiations in Paris at the end of the year will result in a new global climate treaty, Nicolas Stern, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics writes in an article for Die Zeit. In the lead-up to Paris, other important meetings like the G7 summit in Germany will take place and here Germany will play a leading role in preparing the decarbonisation of industrialised nations. Germany is setting standards with its Energiewende, it is proving that both is possible, economic growth and development of renewables, Stern writes. The government has proven its determination to reduce CO2 emissions and its dependency from coal with the climate action programme from December 2014. But now there is a heated debate about a climate levy to reduce emissions from the dirtiest coal-fired power stations, Stern says. However Germans should be aware that they are not alone when it comes to phasing out coal. China, the US and Great Britain are making major efforts to reduce coal consumption.